Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy (Lucky) New Year!

by Ann

Each New Year creates a bit of pressure to make plans for improvement and great things for the upcoming year. I know that I am guilty of resolutions that haven’t lasted, but my intentions have always been good! Last year my husband Patrick and I spent New Year’s Eve with Sheila and her husband, David at a party on a balcony of the second floor of the New York New York hotel and casino in Las Vegas.  From our “birds’ eye view” we had quite the vantage point to watch the sea of humanity below us.  (Both couples were glad that we had the NYE Las Vegas adventure, but never need to do it again!) I remember a conversation we had about resolutions, and that mine was to figure out what to do with my life post-retirement.  At the time I was pretty sure I wanted to retire a year later, which I did, and am glad to say that between two part time jobs (watch for an upcoming post about the fun new job) and blogging I have plenty to do in 2013! 
Along with New Year resolutions comes the concept of stacking the deck in your favor to be prosperous and healthy in the upcoming year by eating lucky foods, and avoiding those that will bring misfortune!  My guess is that you have heard about some of the foods with “super-powers,” but as I did a bit of research for this post, I learned about additional foods to include in my new-year’s menu, and those to avoid.
Let’s start with the LUCKY foods:

Pork is a symbol of wealth and prosperity, so be sure to include some in your January 1 eating plan!  Part of the reason pork is considered lucky is that apparently pigs are incapable of “going in reverse,” so by eating pork, you will be moving forward.
Leafy, green vegetables (cabbage, spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.) symbolize money and wealth.  According to what I read, the more of them you eat the greater your fortune will be!  Eat up!

Lentils swell when cooked to represent money growing and financial reward.

Cornbread symbolizes gold and if corn kernels are added, they are the extra gold nuggets!

OK – so now the UNLUCKY stuff:

Lobster – I’ve just learned that lobsters DO “go in reverse,” so by eating them, you’re heading for setbacks (really?? Who believes this stuff…. But why take a chance?)

Chickens – they go backwards as well – who knew?  Everyone but me??  See above for the reason not to eat those unlucky backwards scratchers.
For that matter, avoid any winged fowl – your luck could fly away (yet another reason to avoid eating chicken January 1!).

Additional things you need to know about luck and the New Year:
Avoid crying, because if you don’t you’ll end up shedding tears throughout the year.

Leave a little food on your plate at midnight on New Year’s Eve to insure that you will have plenty of food for the following year.

And finally – one that I really like – don’t do dishes or laundry on January 1 to keep the chances down for having a death in the family.  WHO MAKES THIS STUFF UP?
All superstitions aside, I hope that each of our friends and faithful readers have great health and happiness in 2013!  (Oh no…. should we be worried about the 13 in 2013?  Naw… let’s not!)

See below for a recipe for “Hoppin Jon,” a traditional New Year’s lucky-food recipe that my husband has made for us each year.  In my research I found that the black-eyed-peas represent coins (money coming the eater’s way), but that there are supposed to be exactly 365 peas; one to represent each day of the year.  I’m not counting them; are you, Pat? 

A word of warning about this recipe – I do NOT find it to be a culinary delight in any sense of the concept – but with all those greens, pork, and lentils we can’t afford NOT to eat it!  ;-)
Pictured here are the ingredients needed for this traditional New Year's Day lucky dish.
Hoppin Jon (the way Pat makes it)
2-4 sausages; andouille or Italian
1 T chopped garlic
3/4 of a medium-large white onion, diced
1 1/2 carrots, diced
1 11 oz container of fresh black eyed peas (365 of them, I'm sure he counted!)
1/2 T cayenne pepper
1/2 T salt
1 c Uncle Ben's converted rice
3-4 c chicken stock, adjust as needed, start with 3 c to cook the rice and black eyed peas
Cook the sausage with the garlic, onion, and carrots until sausage is thoroughly cooked.
Add stock, rice, cayenne pepper, salt and black eyed peas.
Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer until peas and rice is tender.  Add water or additional stock if needed.
Serve with cooked greens and hot sauce to taste.
Even though we've eaten this yearly I can't say that we've become rich and super-lucky, but who knows what would have happened if we didn't eat it? 
Best wishes for 2013!

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